Dear Fellow Motorhomer,
February sees Coronavirus figures in the UK heading in a better direction and linked to a successful vaccination programme there is some optimism for travel to hopefully return sooner rather than later. Exactly what form travel for this year will take remains unknown at this stage. Whatever it may be, GB Motorhome Tours is ready to make tour adjustments as necessary, with all of us at GBMT remaining fully flexible to make the most of all the opportunities for travel throughout 2021. Providing tours can run in a safe and sensible manner, GB Motorhome Tours will be making available as many tours as possible for those who would like to travel throughout 2021. At the same time, for anyone with a 2021 tour booking who prefers not to travel in this year, alternative options will be made available to delay travel to a later time. In all instances, customers with bookings will receive an email update for their tour prior to the balance payment becoming due.
It is now approaching 12 months since the pandemic started to impact on travel. Over this period GB Motorhome Tours have built up a wide range of experience and expertise in touring within the permitted limitations of travel and with varying degrees of regulations/restrictions in place. This began last March when the pandemic first started across Europe, forcing the 2020 Canary Islands tour group to initially go into ‘campsite lockdown’ and later to return to the UK one week ahead of schedule; through the successfully run UK and Ireland socially distanced tours during the summer/autumn and in to December of 2020; to this winters Canary Islands tour which is currently taking place. In all instances GB Motorhome Tours have travelled in compliance with all travel legislation & regulations of the time and in a manner that provides a high degree of safety & sensibility for the tour. This experience over the last 12 months has including adapting tours to be fully socially distanced and this could be a feature required throughout some of 2021. Once travel restrictions for UK citizens are lifted GB Motorhome Tours anticipates having tours in place for those who wish to undertake travel.
Usually at this stage of a new year, the GB Motorhome Tours programme for the following year would have been finalised with tours made available for booking. Be assured there will be a full programme of GB Motorhome Tours for 2022, we are just waiting a little longer this year before making them available in an effort to gauge how travel may be following the vaccination programme. We expect this will enable the 2022 tour programme to be as accurate as possible. One tour that will shortly be made available to book is the 10-week 2022 winter Canary Islands tour. This tour will take either the format of a traditional tour with a full excursion programme (see the 2020 tour itinerary at The 2020 Canary Islands – GB Motorhome Tours) or along the lines of the fully socially distanced tour currently taking place in the islands (see the 2021 tour itinerary at The 2021 Canary Islands – Tenerife, La Palma and Gran Canaria – Tour Underway – GB Motorhome Tours ). The tour for next winter will start early in January 2022. If you would like to register your interest in this tour you can do so now, by sending us a simple email requesting this. It will ensure the tour itinerary is emailed to you in advance of it being made generally available giving you first opportunity of reserving a place on the tour at that stage if you so wish. We anticipate the tour itinerary will be available around the middle to end of next month (March 2021).
In preparation for future post Brexit travel, last months newsletter looked at the newly introduced UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC replaces the previous EHIC). This month we consider the post Brexit impact on personal and vehicle travel documents required for continental motorhome travel going forward.
Passports – For travel post Brexit (01/01/2021) passports on the day of arrival in the EU need to have both:
- At least 6 months’ validity remaining
- AND be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
Note that if you last renewed your passport before the previous one had expired, extra months are likely to have been added to your current passports expiry date. These extra months over 10 years do not count towards the 6 months that need to be remaining on your passport. So, if your passport will be older than 9 years and 6 months on the date of travel to the EU it should be renewed in advance. These rules do not apply if travelling to the Republic of Ireland (a separate common area travel agreement is in place between the Republic of Ireland and the UK). Here you can continue to use your passport as long as it is valid for the length of your stay. Going forward the burgundy passports, whether with “European Union” on the cover or not, will remain valid alongside the newly issued blue UK passport.
Driving Licences – The UK and EU recently entered into a new agreement for UK issued photocard driving licences to be accepted throughout the EU, with only the old paper licences requiring an International Driving Permit to support them. This is good news, meaning for the majority of people there is no need to have anything further than their normal photocard licence for driving in the EU. Do check yours is in date (they expire every 10 years) and if you continue to have only the old paper licence consider applying to change this to a photocard licence. Further information is available at Driving abroad: Check if you need an international driving permit (IDP) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Vehicle Insurance – A ‘Green Card’ should be obtained prior to travel from your motorhome insurers to support your normal insurance certificate for travel in the EU. Most motorhome insurance policies automatically include annual EU cover. Ask your insurers for a ‘Green Card’ prior to travel. Many are offering these without charge if you accept it via email, whereas an administration charge is applied if you wish your insurers to physically post a paper ‘Green Card’ to you. The name ‘Green Card’ comes from the fact that the document is always green in colour. Keep this in mind if having the ‘Green Card’ emailed to you and obtain some green paper to print it on. This is important so that it is instantly recognised by any authorities requesting to inspect it. Don’t be surprised to encounter further questioning if your ‘Green Card’ is printed only on white paper. Further information is available at Vehicle insurance: Driving abroad – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). With new travel for UK citizens currently not permitted now is a good time to check and prepare your documentation in line with the above.
Throughout the continued UK lockdown, GB Motorhome Tours remains working as normal with everyone working from home. Feel free to contact us with anything you would like to ask, we will always aim to respond to you either the same or next working day.
Take good care of yourselves and we anticipate to be travelling with you again soon.
Nurcan & Kevin, Sue & Ron, Liz & Dave, Cheryl & John